The CPU cooler is one of the most important components in your computer. It keeps your processor cool and stable, which allows it to perform at its best. There are two types of cooling solutions available for CPUs: air and liquid. Air coolers are more affordable, but they’re also less efficient than liquid coolers. Which type of cooler is better for you?

When it comes to air vs liquid CPU coolers, the water cooling is more suitable for you. A study found that air cooling was not as effective as liquid cooling. Read more in detail here: water cooling vs air cooling benchmarks.

This is a hotly debated subject. It’s difficult for novices to decide which is the best choice for them since both offer effective cooling for your CPU but have distinct characteristics. Is it better to use an air or liquid cooling for your CPU?


I won’t mention some points based on what some others say; instead, I’ll explain some things based on my own experience with both. I haven’t tried many CPU coolers, but if you test them both at the same time, it’s simple to choose a winner.

I used to have two CPU coolers when I constructed my own gaming computer around a month ago. Both were air coolers, but one was stock and the other was aftermarket. Nonetheless, there is no need to argue whether to use a stock or aftermarket CPU cooler since we all know that standard CPU coolers are just meant to cool down CPUs, not to offer the greatest performance.

A larger heatsink and a stronger cooling fan are required for a gaming computer, especially one that can overclock its CPU to improve performance. Fortunately, there is a broad range of CPU coolers available on the market, with prices ranging from $10 to more than $100. As you go up the pricing scale, each of these air coolers provides more and greater cooling. However, air coolers are often less expensive than liquid coolers.

Do they, however, perform well enough?

To clarify certain issues, I put my two CPU coolers to the test and compared them in a few areas. Cooler Master Hyper 103 air cooler and Deepcool Captain 240 liquid cooler are the two options. Please don’t attack me by claiming that the prices of these coolers are vastly different and that they are not comparable. This isn’t a comparison of two similarly priced CPU coolers; rather, it’s a test to determine whether there’s enough of a performance difference to justify the price difference.

How Does Each Work?

The mechanism of the air cooler is simple. By establishing direct contact with the CPU, an aluminum heatsink with or without copper pipes is utilized to absorb heat. The heat is dispersed over the heatsink, which is cooled by the fan connected to it.

According on the quality of the heatsink, copper pipes may or may not be present. Copper heat pipes in a CPU cooler offer more efficient cooling at a higher cost. Heatsinks come in a variety of sizes, depending on their quality. The larger the heatsink, the better the cooling will be. Alternatively, the more copper pipes in direct contact with the CPU on a heatsink, the greater the cooling.

The mechanics of a liquid cooler is complicated. A pump, a radiator, and radiator fans are used in a liquid cooler. The pump and the radiator are linked by tubes that enable water or coolant to flow from the pump to the radiator and back.

The liquid becomes heated when the pump begins operating because the copper plate of the cooler is in direct contact with the CPU. The hot water is sent via tubings to the radiator because liquid absorbs heat from metal more effectively than air. The radiator’s fins are constructed of aluminum. The radiators range in size from 120mm to 360mm. The more fins there are, the simpler it will be to dissipate heat.

The radiator’s fans are now blowing air straight into the fins, causing the fins to cool. As a consequence, the liquid in indirect contact with the fins cools down and returns to the pump for the next cycle. As a result, this is more efficient than just cooling with air.

Which is the safer option?

Because water may destroy all of your components in seconds if it leaks, an air cooler is much safer than a liquid cooler. Air coolers are always functional, and the worst that may happen is a fan failure, which you can replace at any moment for less than $15. However, the heatsink will still perform its job, but thermal throttling is to be anticipated while gaming or doing other CPU-intensive tasks.

When it comes to liquid coolers, water leaking from pipes or pumps is very uncommon. However, if it happens, your whole system will fail, and even if your pump can be repaired, you will have to replace the damaged components. Although liquid cooling is safe and you should not be scared of it, it is possible that anything may go wrong. But it isn’t as simple as that. A liquid cooler’s tubes and all of its components are sufficiently tight to avoid leaking. So, if you like cooler weather, go ahead.


This is one of the most crucial considerations when selecting a CPU cooler. If you believe that performance is all that matters and that noise levels are unimportant, you will be annoyed once your CPU cooler begins to run at full speed.

Noise levels under 30 DB are unnoticeable, but if they exceed that, you may notice them, which may interfere with your in-game sound. My computer remained quiet most of the time when I used the cooler master hyper 103, but when I maxed out the fan speed, the noise was barely audible at 30DB owing to the cooler master hyper 103’s maximum fan rpm of 2200 and reduced air pressure and air flow.

Things changed dramatically when I added the Deepcool Captain 240. Although the noise levels were unnoticeable at normal speed, they are intolerable at full speed, reaching up to 39 decibels. If you want a quiet system, this isn’t the best option. However, due of the considerably greater air pressure and air velocity, it was very noisy.

When quiet is preferred, the CM hyper 103 is a clear winner if air pressures and air flows are ignored.

Compatibility and the amount of space required

CPU Air Cooler: Air coolers just need a chassis with sufficient size to accommodate the cooler. These CPU air coolers are available in heights ranging from 90mm to 168mm. Mini cpu air coolers are ideal for building a mini-ITX gaming pc since they take up less space and provide rock solid performance, but if you want to cool your cpu even more, you’ll need a hefty heatsink with powerful PWM fans. You’ll need at least a mid tower that can handle 160mm heightened coolers.

The Hyper 212 EVO from Cooler Master is an excellent example of a low-cost CPU cooler that is capable of moderate overclocking. If you’re looking for a decent mid tower for these coolers, here’s a list of the best mid towers for every price that will not only handle tiny CPU coolers but also beefier coolers like the Noctua NH-D15.

However, there are certain compatibility problems with Air coolers. Because some of the beefier air coolers utilize two or even three fans with a large heatsink, the heatsink covers the whole motherboard, making wiring problematic. If you need to do anything like rewire and install a new ram stick, you’ll probably have to remove the heatsink first, which is a pain. Low noise and excellent performance are the only things that hefty Air coolers excel at.

In terms of my Cooler Master Hyper 103, it didn’t take up much room on my motherboard and was simple to install. Almost all of the mid towers will be able to sustain it, so you won’t have any problems.

CPU Liquid Cooler: You are wrong if you believe that only air coolers have compatibility problems. Liquid coolers, on the other hand, may seem to take up less space on the motherboard, but the amount of space required by the radiators may not be available in your case.

A strong mid tower is required to support a 120mm or 240mm radiator. Although some cases have room for two 120mm fans, this is not guarantee that your 240mm radiator will fit. Your case may or may not have enough room at the top or bottom to install radiators with fans, or you may only be able to fit a single 120mm fan on a 240mm radiator, which looks strange.

My Deepcool Captain 240mm radiator needed 240mm of space, which my case Cooler Master 690III provided since it has enough of room at the top and front for up to 280mm of radiators. The main issue is that installing a liquid cooler takes a long time since you have to deal with the large radiator after you repair your pump at the CPU. The radiator is very large, and the tubes aren’t very flexible.

To make the procedure simpler, you should install the fans before the radiator, but you’ll need a second 4 pin power port on your motherboard to power those fans in addition to the 4 pin power port for the CPU pump.

Some motherboards don’t have them, therefore you’ll have to rely on your case’s back fan or your radiator fans. As a result, it is occasionally dependent on the motherboard.

Over be honest, I prefer liquid coolers to air coolers, but there are some lovely air coolers out there, such as the BeQuite Dark Rock Pro 3 and Reeven RC-1001b Brontes, that give some nice design to the case. However, it is just an option, and it is up to the user to decide what he prefers.

Despite this, almost all liquid and air coolers are compatible with the motherboards currently on the market.

Which is the hottest?

I put the two coolers to the test on two separate occasions. The first is a program named HeavyLoad, and the second is Battlefield 4, a CPU-intensive game. These two factors are sufficient to determine which cooler is best for day-to-day use by testing the CPU temperatures and performance of two coolers.

idle temp

Heavy Load Bench

Bf4 Bench

The Deepcool captain clearly outperforms the Cooler Master hyper 103, as shown by the following data. With Deepcool Captain 40, the idle temperature was consistently around 30 degrees, and under full load, the temperature never exceeded 63 degrees in any of the cases. I continue to test my CPU in various apps and games with various fan speeds, and it has never exceeded 63 degrees Celsius. However, raising the fan speed to 100% did not significantly lower the temperature. At the expense of so much noise, the difference in temperature is just 2-3 degrees Celsius. As a result, I keep the fan speed set to standard.

Under Battlefield 4, the Coolermaster hyper 103 hit 81 degrees fairly quickly, but not in Heavy Load, which I believe is due to the increased temps of the GPU, motherboard, and RAM together. However, it had no effect on Deepcool Captain 240’s performance.

Dollar for dollar, performance

Hyper 103 by Cooler Master: $24.99

Captain 240 Deepcool: $124.99 (At the time of launch)


performance per dollar when idle

Performance per dollar in heavyload

Performance per dollar in Bf4


The difference in results per dollar invested is enormous. Although the Deepcool captain 240 liquid cooler seems to outperform the Cooler master hyper 103 by a significant margin, the price is almost six times more, which does not justify the price of this liquid cooler. So, if you want to cool your CPU efficiently for regular usage or even moderate overclocking, I suggest going with a cheap air cooler, however AIO coolers are ideal for enthusiasts who want to make their computers look nice and want to push the overclocking limit. It all boils down to your financial situation. If you’re looking for a low-cost gaming PC, I won’t suggest a liquid CPU cooler since it won’t make much of a difference in terms of frame rate. However, they should be recommended to aficionados who value low temperatures above everything else.




Air coolers are the best option for people who want to save money and don’t need a lot of performance. Liquid coolers offer more performance but cost more. Reference: best air cooler cpu.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is liquid CPU Cooler better than air?

Which type of cooler is best for CPU?

There is no one type of cooler that is the best for your CPU. It depends on what you are looking to do with it. If you want a cooler that will be able to cool down your CPU as quickly as possible, then a liquid cooling system would be best for you.

Is liquid cooling better 2020?


Holly is the smartest person you will ever know (Or so she tells us lol). She's a gamer by heart, and an author by soul. Writing for the website g15tools is a dream come true for her - she loves being able to share her thoughts and insights with others who love gaming as much as she does. When she's not writing or gaming, Holly can be found spending time with her friends and family.